The first Independence Day movie back in 1996 pretty much set a new bar for the epic disaster film while mixing it in with sci-fi. Director Roland Emmerich and Producer Dean Devlin not only created a genre (or at least expanded upon it) but more or less dug a film well that they would dip into a number of times after 1996. You’ve seen The Day After Tomorrow, or 2112, right? C’mon, admit it, you saw them, you just don’t want anyone to know. Hey, like me, you may have even seen their 1998 version of Godzilla, which was sort of a disaster film, but definitely a disaster AS a film.
So, these guys have kind of cornered the market on a certain type of film. Independence Day: Resurgence kind of ups the ante on what Emmerich has become known for.
If you saw the first one, Resurgence doesn’t stray too far from the same premise. It’s just bigger and more of it. We (Spoiler!) defeated in the aliens in the first one, so now, 20 years later, the aliens have come back with bigger everything to kick the shit out of us humans, once and for all.
The destruction/alien ships/alien CG effects are bonkers. Certainly eye-popping, kind of awesome, massive effects done by none other than Weta Digital. Emmerich says one of the reasons he waited so long to do a sequel to Independence Day is that the technology wasn’t good enough to do what he envisioned for the film. I’m not sure how true that is, but either way, the effects here look pretty great. I admit there were a couple of “Wow” moments.
I even have to say that, though I did NOT see this in 3D, I imagine that this would have been pretty cool in 3D. And I don’t say that very often. There were definitely some scenes that would have benefited from it.
I had no problem with the cast – everyone was pretty solid, I guess. Sometimes it’s hard to tell with movies like this, because, let’s face it, no one here is going to win any awards for this kind of movie. Many of the original cast returns, like Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner (still my fave as the eccentric scientist guy), and even Vivica A. Fox. Some of the new ones are Jessie T. Usher, Liam Hemsworth, Sela Ward, William Fichtner, Maika Monroe, and an actress that goes by the name Angelababy. Yep.
You can tell they wanted Will Smith to be in this but since he wasn’t, they managed to get a photo of him on screen – twice. I wonder if they had to pay just for his likeness to be on screen? Or maybe the photograph gets paid? 😉
Independence Day: Resurgence is the kind of film that you don’t dig too deep into. You will surely be suspending your disbelief at nearly every turn. There’s more made up sci-fi impossible logic here than in most episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I was amused as I was leaving the theater and passed a group of people talking about the film and they were all, “Why did the alien do such-and-such”, or “How did so-and-so do whatever and blah blah blah?” These are not questions you ask yourself when seeing a movie like this. If you spend your time asking for logical reasons for things happening in these kinds of movies, you shouldn’t go in the first place.
There’s still certainly a fair amount of entertainment here, and they interject some funny stuff, too. Some of the humor is self-deprecating, aimed at some of the complaints of the first Independence Day film. I enjoyed all of those laughs and a few great inside sci-fi quips, too. What I did notice, however, is that the big, over-the-top cheesy lines of the first one, were strangely toned down in Resurgence to take on a more dramatic tone. Sadly, that just didn’t work here, because the film is so over-the-top itself, I don’t want it to take itself too serious. Some of the best laughs in the first film, and part of its’ silly charm, were of actors defiantly yelling things at the aliens, or over a loud speaker to the whole world’s population that were just unabashedly patriotic or hokey. There was less of that here, and the film, believe it or not, actually suffers for it.
They manage to add a few variations in this from it’s predecessor, but as previously stated, you might find yourself questioning how their train of logic got to it’s destination. But again, stop questioning this shit. It’ll just drive you crazy. Turn off your brain, and go for the ride.
All in all, Independence Day: Resurgence is still fun, albeit not quite as much as the first one. But it’s got lots of awesome effects, some new things to freshen it up, as well as some nods to it’s origins. It’s definitely a big screen experience, though, so about three and a little kittenhands. Still not going to beat Marvel’s Civil War, and maybe not the surprise hit I hoped, but still solid escapist fun at the movies.
~ Neil T Weakley, your average movie-goer, still love seeing an evil alien get punched in the face.